What was the EXPO?
Every year, 14 million people die from treatable infectious diseases, a quarter of all deaths worldwide. Over 90% of the victims live in developing countries. Access to treatment for these diseases is problematic because the medicines are unaffordable, ineffective due to resistance, or not adapted to local conditions. Further, drug discovery targeted at infectious diseases in poor countries has virtually come to a standstill.
Between March 2002 and May 2003, MSF took an interactive travelling exhibit to over 30 cities in 20 states across the U.S. to help raise awareness about the access crisis. To learn more about the crisis, and what MSF is doing, visit the MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign web site.
How did it work?
MSF's Expo was an interactive exhibit that personalized the experience of living in a developing country with an infectious disease.
The Access to Essential Medicines Petition In conjunction with the Access EXPO Tour, Doctors Without Borders started a petition campaign calling the U.S. Government and PhRMA to put more resources into research and development for new medicines for neglected diseases. Visitors to the EXPO were invited to sign the two-part card below, or to sign online at our website.
Who Signed The Access to Essential Medicines Petition?
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) collected over 200,000 signatures as part of an international effort to push for improved access to essential medicines for people in developing countries. In the United States we collected over 30,000 signatures, representing concerned individuals from every State and Territory. Supporters included:
Joseph Martin, MD, PhD
*Organizational affiliation for identification purposes only.
ACT UP/New York
African Services Committee
AIDS Action Baltimore
AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Treatment Data Network
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH)
Artists for a New South Africa
Association of Scientists and Physicians of African Descent (ASPAD)
Church World Service
European AIDS Treatment Group
Gay Men's Health Crisis
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Alliance for TB Drug Development
Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+)
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
International Rescue Committee
Kids for World Health
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC)
Darin Portnoy, MD, Vice-President of MSF-USA's Board of Directors, and Jake Feinman of Kids for World Health walk through the halls of the White House to deliver the petition.
Kids for World Health members march through the streets of Washington, DC. This group was founded two years ago by 8-year-olds from Larchmont, NY to fight for treatments for sleeping sickness.
The Access EXPO opened in Washington with a silent vigil.
At a March 14th press conference,
Jake Feinman of Kids for World Health and Rachel Cohen of MSF-USA speak to Senator Hillary Clinton about the problem of access to safe, affordable treatment for sleeping sickness.
Richard Rockefellar, MD, Chair of the MSF-USA Advisory Board, presents the petition to Alan Holmer, President of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).